Swimming with the whales, Tonga

You can swim with the whales, or you can live with them in the Kingdom of Tonga.

This is a great place to see Whales and Dolphins, as they occur in all Tongan marine waters and can be seen anywhere along the coastline, although their visits may be infrequent and unpredictable.

Whale watching in Vava’u is centered mainly on the Humpback Whale which migrates to Tonga in the winter months to breed and give birth. Other species of Whales may be seen all year round. All Whales are protected under Tongan Law.

The Humpback’s migration to Vava’u covers many thousands of kilometers. The Humpbacks come to these warm protected water every winter (June through October) to give birth and mate. Like all whales, Humpbacks are warm blooded, air breathing mammals who give birth to live young and who suckle on mother’s milk. Humpbacks engage in fantastic courtship and mating behavior, which can last for many hours. The underside of each Humpback’s tail/fluke is unique. By photographing the fingerprint like tails, scientists have identified individual whales here in Tonga.

Humpbacks, like all whales, are sonic creatures that rely mostly on hearing.

The Humpbacks are known for their detailed whale songs. Like human songs they employ syllables and rhyming phrases to produce detailed themes that are repeated in an ordered manner to make up a song. Scientists have been recording their songs here in Tonga for a number of years.

Humpback Whales are among the most studied of all large whales because they are often in shallow coastal waters, which make them available to humans. This trail has also been their downfall. At one time as many as 150,000 Humpbacks roamed the world’s seas. Beginning in the early 1800s and continuing into the 1960s, Humpbacks suffered uncontrolled slaughter. It is estimated only 12,000 Humpbacks remain worldwide.

The Whale Watch industry has finally secured control of haphazard viewing and swimming with these creatures. Rules and guidelines have been implemented by The Whale Watch purveyors to better ensure visitors safety when engaging whales in the water. Whale watching have been designed to encourage safe, enjoyable and educative Whale watching for all people interacting with Whales in Vava’u, Tonga. By using these licensed operators you will not only have a better Whale watch but will minimize the disturbance to the Whales.

Swimming with the whales, Tonga